All posts tagged: Reading Challenge

banner with 3 books: Sea Prayer, the sun and her flowers, and Fierce Fairytales

Reading Challenge: 2018 (Poetry)

I got hooked to poetry in college. I loved the flow of it, the subtlety and directness of it, and how it expressed so much with so little. The classics are always something I fall back on but I find contemporary poetry to be so much more hard-hitting. Here are some of my 2018 reads in Poetry. Nom Chomp Slurp: This is close to my heart because it’s written by my baby sister. It is an awesome book to encourage kids to eat fruits. The catchy rhyme and vibrant illustrations hold the attention of any kid. Good book for early readers to read on their own as well. Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini: A beautifully told heart-wrenching short narrative that takes you in the mind of a father about to get into a raft for refugees with his son. You can feel the pain, nostalgia, and hope. The book might be over in ten minutes but the thought of it stays with you for much longer. I’ve read it twice already. The Sun and Her …

Reading Challenge: 2018 (Non-Fiction)

I would refuse to read non-fiction books for a very long time. As a teenager, The 7 Habits was thrust in my face far too many times to put me off that section completely.  The first non-fiction I remember reading voluntarily was Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus by John Gray (on recommendation by Oprah). Although it was very cliched, in my young mind it made a lot of sense. Slowly I warmed up to biographies and other non-fiction books. They are an essential part of my reading list every year now. Here are some I read in 2018. Mothering a Muslim by Nazia Erum: All of us who have been in the majority and never had to face discrimination or worry about our children being ridiculed, excluded or worse should read this and examine how we are complicit or have actively caused such hurt. It is appalling that so many of our friends and children live in this constant fear. The Perils of Being Moderately Famous by Soha Ali Khan: I …

Reading Challenge: 2018 (Fiction)

Fiction has been the first type of books I enjoyed reading. Sweeping me into another world, full of possibilities. There are many types of fiction – suspense, science, historical, pulp, fantasy, to name a few – and I love them all. As I’ve grown older and read more of these books, I am amazed at how similar we all are in all corners of the world; wanting similar things, dreaming similar dreams.  These are just some of the books in this category I read in 2018 that stood out among the rest. For a full list, do visit my Goodreads profile.  The House of Clay and Water by Faiqa Mansab: Everything from the covers to the words in between them are beautifully expressed. It was a breeze to read through although there were times when you need to stop and face the harsh realities she talks about. The status of women, the unsafe children, the segregation, and the claim for the moral high ground. It is all relatable and is our thoughts put into words …

Pile of books next to a small wooden deer

Reading Challenge: 2018 (Prologue: On Diversity)

When you have read 50 books in a year, it’s safe to say not all of them can be (or need to be) reviewed. Even the ones I want to talk about are too many for a single post so I’ve divided them in three parts (and this rant). I used to read whatever book piqued my interest at the moment either because someone recommended it to me or the blurb was well written. Then there was a list of books that were considered well known and famous.  After reading some ‘classics’, I wanted to add contemporary books to my list as well so I would try and look (mainly on Goodreads lists) for interesting books released in that year. What I realised as I documented my reading lists, is that my list was very lop-sided – very Western, very White. I had not explored Indian authors since English Lit classes in college. My list barely had any authors from countries other than the UK or US. I found that to be a dreadful shortcoming; …

Reading Challenge: 2017

I finally am getting back to my stride and making time to read more. This year I jumped to 41 books. There were a few hits and a few misses as with every year. So without further delay let’s dive in. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult: It is a more holistic approach to racism than I’ve read before and tries to approach the story from different angles. The neat way it’s all wrapped up in the end seems far fetched but it’s known to happen. The courtroom drama is not as dramatic as novels of the genre and there’s not much of it. It’s basically a book on the racial divide in the US and feelings that it brings up in different people A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: Beautifully written. Reminded me of the movie Up in some ways. Makes you smile through the grumpiness. A simple feel good book especially in these troubling times. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, M.D.: It is a story of living life when death …

open pages of a book laid next to a tea cup and flowers

Reading Challenge: 2016

16 books in 2016. Before I get dejected by that low number, I remind myself I just had a baby and I’m glad I could read even one. Fans of physical books will scoff at me but the Kindle got me through the long breast-feeding and rocking-to sleep sessions this year. I could hold it in one hand and read without disturbing my sleeping baby. I love technology. I do miss the feel of paper, using bookmarks, and finding leaves and flowers between pages long forgotten; I don’t miss the wrist pain after reading large books, carrying a large book while waiting in a waiting room, or reading in uncomfortable places because everywhere else people need the lights off to sleep apparently.  Kindle ebooks are readily available for almost all titles, you can carry a bunch of them wherever you go, and read without hurting your wrist and neck. I have the Kindle Paperwhite which lets me adjust the screen brightness and it doesn’t strain your eyes like a tablet or phone does. I freely …

Reading Challenge: 2015

With a heavy heart I had to downgrade my challenge to just 25 books this year because of a life re-shuffle, but I aimed for quality instead of quantity and knocked off a few books from my to-read list. Here are some of my favourites… Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson: This was a good book to start the year with. What a laugh riot this was. If it was fictional, I probably wouldn’t have believed a word of it happened. Seems to be a collection of events that seem hilarious only in retrospect because really – using a shovel to keep away vultures from eating your dead and buried dog, and burning down houses (almost) couldn’t have been funny when it happened but is ROFL funny when retold! Malice by Keigo Higashino: Another gem by this author that will keep you on the edge till you finish the whole book in one sitting. A good insight into the mind of someone who holds a grudge. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: I was looking forward to the book’s release but …

Reading Challenge: 2014

It was such a joy last year to get back to reading after having survived on just two or three books a year for the lack of time. Now when I look at my reading list, I am filled with anxiety because I feel I have so much to catch up on. I calm down after I realise that everyone’s ‘to be read’ pile is probably longer than their ‘read’ pile. This year I reduced the number of books for the challenge because I felt a bit rushed last year and I knew that I was going to have a busier 2014. I managed to complete the challenge well in time so that I could go on my break without feeling the pressure to read – that’s no way to enjoy a book. Here are some of the books from this year that I think deserve a mention – for better or for worse. Non-fiction Zealot by Reza Aslan: It gave a good historical background into Jesus’ life and how he became a man of legendary …

Reading Challenge: 2013

This year I discovered the Goodreads Reading Challenge. You set your reading goal for the year and try to achieve it. This came at a great time for me because since I had stopped working last year, I had been planning to catch up on my reading. I have always loved to read but with all of life getting in the way, it had been difficult to make time for it. I started with a simple goal of 50 books for the year, but within a few days changed it to 100 – it’s a challenge after all. Although each book I read has its review on the site, I wanted to highlight some of them I read this year that kept me thinking about them long after I had devoured the stories. 1. A Dog’s Tale by Mark Twain – It’s only a few pages long but manages to squeeze in so much heartbreak that it was difficult to read the whole thing without pausing and reflecting on it. Especially if you love dogs and animals, …